Belfast Telegraph

Brexit talks impasse was inevitable, says Gerry Adams

By Ed Carty

The deadlock in Brexit negotiations was inevitable, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has claimed.

Mr Adams accused Theresa May's Government of being unwilling to engage substantially on the three key issues of the divorce bill, the Irish border and EU citizens' rights.

He also called for Northern Ireland to be given designated special status in the EU.

"There is a real danger that the current approach by the British Government could lead to a scenario where no deal is reached," he said.

"While every effort must be made to persuade the British Government to engage properly, the Irish Government must now urgently accept the need for the north to be designated a special status within the EU.

"This is the only sure way of giving a measure of protection to both economies on this island."

Mr Adams was speaking after Mrs May's hopes of an early start to trade talks with the EU suffered a serious setback, after Brussels' chief negotiator said more time was needed to thrash out a Brexit divorce deal first.

Michel Barnier announced that he will tell leaders of the remaining 27 EU nations at a summit in the Belgian capital next week that insufficient progress has been made in divorce talks to be able to move on to negotiations on the bloc's post-Brexit relationship with Britain.

His recommendation makes it all but certain that trade talks will be delayed at least until the end of the year, and will heighten pressure on the British Government to make preparations for a possible "no-deal" Brexit.

Speaking alongside Brexit Secretary David Davis at the conclusion of the fifth round of formal talks in Brussels, Mr Barnier said no "great steps forward" had been made this week and there remained a "disturbing" deadlock over how much the UK should pay to settle commitments entered into as an EU member.

He held out the prospect of "decisive" progress in the Brexit talks by the time of the European Council summit scheduled for December 14-15.

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